Using peaches in sweet dishes is easy; they go beautifully in pies, cakes, cobblers, crisps and sauces. But chef Jason Audette has been giving a lot of thought to how to use this favorite seasonal fruit in savory dishes as well.
Audette is executive chef at Solstice in Newtown, which chooses “peak of season” ingredients to highlight at different times of the year. This summer it is Southern peaches, and Audette and his staff have been busy coming up with ideas on how to use them.
“Every couple weeks we have a new hyper seasonal menu,” he said, which has kept him and his staff busy coming up with new ideas.
Making desserts is easy; a peach melba at Solstice combines peaches with charred citrus honey and fresh raspberry sorbet. For savory combinations Audette said he reached into other culinary influences from other cultures.
Savory peaches with green beans has a Middle Eastern flair, he said, featuring pickled beans with a smoked cashew dukkah (dip). Peaches with burrata (fresh mozzarella with a creamy center) is a crisp salad finished with a champagne vinaigrette that has been one of the most popular dishes of the season.
Using fruit in savory dishes requires acid to balance out the sweetness of the dish, he said.
Solstice opened just one week before the pandemic became official, then closed before reopening offering takeout only. The restaurant offers indoor seating now by reservation with full safety protocols.
During the months when they could only offer takeout, Audette said he and his staff refined the takeout menu. “We offer a limited menu of dishes that travel well,” he said.
Solstice offers indoor dining, takeout and delivery, and has a rewards program for repeat customers. Audette shares this simplified recipe for Solstice’s peaches and burrata dish:
Peaches and Burrata
2 peaches, each cut into eight wedges
10 thinly sliced radish coins
1 burrata, cut in half
4 tablespoons Champagne vinaigrette (recipe follows)
2 cups frisee leaves (curly endive)
4 tablespoons hazelnut gremolata (recipe follows)
10 leaves red-veined sorrel
Pinch of kosher salt
2 tablespoons toasted panko
2 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts
1 tablespoon basil, finely shredded
2 cloves of garlic
Combine panko, hazelnuts, basil and garlic in food processor and pulse until incorporated.
Spread hazelnut gremolata on base of plate of your choice. Place eight peach slices and half of burrata over gremolata.
Make champagne vinaigrette (see recipe below).
In separate mixing bowl, toss frisee in 1 tablespoon champagne vinaigrette and place on top of peaches. (Extra dressing can be saved and used for later)
Place radish coins and sorrel on top for garnish. Finish with salt to taste.
¼ cup champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon shallots, diced
½ cup blended oil
1 sprig thyme
kosher salt to taste
Combine all ingredients of champagne vinaigrette in blender and blend until incorporated.